In fantasy football there are two things the WR position usually has going for it…One it has the most depth than any other position; and two, because of the depth it is usually the most unpredictable to draft. In last seasons drafts most people slept on players such as Jordy Nelson, Wes Welker, and Victor Cruz who ranked 2nd, 3rd, and 4th in fantasy scoring respectively. In the same drafts many drafted in early rounds players such as Greg Jennings, Dwayne Bowe, and DeSean Jackson who finished 17th, 20th, and 27th respectively in fantasy points. But really who could have predicted that Nelson would walk away with 15 touchdowns, or that DeSean would fall of a cliff? According to Michael Fabiano since 2007 no more than 4 WR’s to finish in the top 10 have repeated the following season, quite a bit of volatility. In reference to my previous entry (Breaking down 2011’s flex rankings) of the top 25 players only 8 were WR’s, so having one of these players gives you a huge edge on your roster. Following are 5 players I have the best chance to give you this edge and finish toward the top of. (All points based on ESPN Standard Scoring)
- Calvin Johnson- Is any body really surprised with this ranking? Didn’t think so as Megatron is considered nearly exclusively the top WR in both the NFL and fantasy football. Johnson has been good for a while now as he has had at least 1,100 yards and 12 touchdowns in 3 of the past 4 years. Last year however was the first full season Johnson had together with a healthy Matthew Stafford and it was incredible to watch as Johnson had 96 rec, 1,681 yards, and 16 touchdowns. His accolades earned him a 1st place finish among WR’s with 254 points (44 more points than 2nd place Jordy Nelson with 210). Defenses have already tried everything including triple coverages to stop him and have failed miserably…nothing should change this season.
- Larry Fitzgerald- Since his rookie year in 2004, Larry Fitzgerald has averaged 87 rec, 1,201 yards, and 9 touchdowns. In that time frame last seasons 1,411 yards was the 4th such time he has posted over 1,400. Consistency is Larry Fitzgerald’s middle name and as I expect better play this year from Kevin Kolb, Fitzgerald should easily come in top 5 and is the only player I think can dethrone Johnson this year in scoring.
- Wes Welker- Last year was far and away the best of his career as Welker posted 122 rec, 1,569 yards, and 9 touchdowns earning him a 3rd place finish among WR’s. In PPR Wes has been gold since joining the pats as he has had over 110 receptions 4 of the past 5 seasons. The only drawback in is that Welker plays with a quarterback who has a lot of mouths to feed as Gronkowski, Hernandez, and Lloyd will all get their fair share of looks. Still Wes has over 1,150 yards 4 of 5 seasons with the patriots and is a safe pick in the early rounds.
- Greg Jennings- Quoting ESPN “Jennings was on pace for a career-high 87 grabs for 1,239 yards and 12 TDs, which would have put him fifth among fantasy WRs.” Since Jennings’ rookie year he has averaged 1,024 yards and 8 touchdowns. He is also in his contract year and will be determined to show his worth and reassert his dominance as the top WR in Green Bay. Look for Jennings to post huge numbers this year.
- Roddy White- Over the past five seasons White has averaged 94 rec, 1,284 yards and 8 touchdowns. Last season White was very consistent having 9 games posting double digit fantasy points helping him to a 7th place finish among WR’s. Julio Jones’ big play ability will take some opportunity away from White but he has enough talent to overcome it. Atlanta will be throwing more this season in my opinion so look for White to have a very successful season.
So there you have it fantasy world my list of WR’s who warrant the label tier 1. As always comments welcome